Cisco Productivity Index reveals Wandsworth as the UK’s most productive local area

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Wandsworth has been named the UK’s most productive local area, achieving 65 points more than its benchmark productivity score, according to the Cisco Productivity Index. London boroughs performed well overall with Wandsworth, Camden, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Tower Hamlets, Richmond upon Thames, Hillingdon, City of London and Havering all featuring in the national top 10.

The study, developed in partnership with Oxford Economics, provides a local-level view of productivity throughout the UK. Drawing on data for 391 local areas, covering multiple contributing factors – from road transport and employment, to technology capital and academic qualifications – the Index identifies how productive each area is relative to its industrial benchmark. It removes the effect local industries have on a region’s productivity to signify its potential.

Nationally, the UK could add £140 billion in GDP, growing its economy by 7.5%, if all UK local areas achieved their benchmark productivity levels. Only two boroughs in Greater London are not performing above their benchmark productivity score, which are Greenwich and Hackney with both local areas scoring 100 points – still above the national average (96).

The UK is currently the eighth largest economy in the world, yet productivity, a key determinant of pay and living standards, has been at a relative standstill since 2008. The Cisco Productivity Index is the first study of productivity at a local-level, aiming to identify key trends and local solutions to increase national productivity. The initiative is part of Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) programme. CDA is a partnership with industry, government and academia to help accelerate digital outcomes for the UK.

Key findings from the Index include:

London dominance

  • Wandsworth is the UK’s top-performing local area – with 65% higher productivity than its industrial benchmark.
  • London boroughs dominate the strongest performing areas – with 9 of the top 10 and 15 of the top 20 local areas coming from the capital.

Intra-regional disparity

  • Wide intra-regional disparities exist across closely geographically situated areas – the range between the highest and lowest performing London and South Eastern local areas is over 50 points.
  • The narrowest intra-regional disparities are found in areas with lower scores on the Index – local areas in Wales and the North East all fall short of their benchmark level.

Factors affecting productivity

  • Wandsworth and Camden both displayed highly productive business services sectors and local tech scenes – attracting investment from global technology companies.
  • The Index generally highlights a positive correlation between increased productivity and these four factors: technology, people, business structure and innovation, geography and physical infrastructure.

“Technology has the potential to have the same multiplying effect in regions, as it does in industry; it is the greatest lever we have to grow productivity, whether in the way it improves the efficacy of an organisation or the employability of individuals. This Index shows that there is a huge opportunity for the UK, if we collectively address local productivity levels,” said Scot Gardner, Chief Executive, Cisco UK & Ireland. “Our goal in creating this index is to provide practical solutions to the UK’s productivity puzzle at a local-level.”

“Productivity is a black spot for the UK economy. Nationally, our productivity levels are among the worst in the G7—but this report reveals the troubling disparities at a much more local-level,” added Sam Moore, Managing Director, Economic Consultancy, Oxford Economics. “By controlling for each area’s industrial mix, we seek to shed light on other factors that might be associated with these disparities, from levels of investment in technology and R&D to local infrastructure and connectivity. In some cases, these factors may be easier for policymakers to influence than an area’s industrial makeup.”

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